The year is 1215 and Brackley provides the meeting point between rebel barons and representatives of dastardly King John. After days of fierce negotiation and a fair few pints of mead, the breakthrough is made to ensure passage of the Magna Carta, history’s most potent model of freedom and liberty. Some 800 years on and this humble Northamptonshire market town is facing a similarly titanic clash, an FA Cup 2nd round tie against Blackpool.
One of the games of the first round saw Kevin Wilkin’s non-league team overcome a stubborn Gillingham side 4-3 thanks to a sublime hat-trick from midfielder James Armson. The story goes that Armson, a college education examiner by trade, was forced to change in his car before clinically undressing the League One outfit. Brackley’s reward for reaching the 2nd round for only the second time in their history is a trip up the M6 to League Two Blackpool, who as recently as 2011 were plying their trade in the Premier League. The Tangerines famously lifted the trophy in 1953, coming from 3-1 down to beat Bolton 4-3 courtesy of a Stan Mortensen hat-trick and with just one defeat in their last seven games, Gary Bowyer’s side will likely provide a sterner test.
This is the first FA Cup meeting between these two sides and with a potential Premier League opponent waiting in the 3rd round, the Saints may well fancy themselves on Sunday. It’s a winding road to Wembley but if Armson can repeat his heroics this weekend, Brackley may just pinch another spot in the history books. Sorry King John.